America won’t celebrate its 250th birthday until 2026, but Fairfax County has decided it’s not too early to start planning the party.
At the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (July 13), Gunston Hall Executive Director Scott Stroh presented a report on behalf of a seven-person work group with recommendations for how the county could observe the U.S.’s semiquincentennial anniversary.
Recommendations touched on thematic, organizational, and practical considerations, among them adopting the word “commemoration” to describe the anniversary, making sure it reflects the “fullest American story,” and issuing a countywide survey of residents about what they want out of the occasion.
Additionally, the work group recommends having an organizational structure, a marketing and promotional plan, and a preliminary multi-year budget set by the end of the year.
“This commemoration offers an important and compelling opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments and progress as a nation and community, but also opportunities to foster cooperation, facilitate conversation, and inspire actions so that all can equally enjoy the benefits of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Stroh said. “Fairfax County is distinctly positioned to lead this effort in Virginia.”
July 4, 2026 will represent 250 years of American independence from Britain, which is generally marked from the full adoption of the Declaration of Independence and formal start of the Revolutionary War. Both nationally and in Virginia, committees, organizations, and work groups are taking shape to start preparations for the anniversary.
Fairfax County is the only municipality in the Commonwealth to have initiated this effort to date, according to materials provided to the board.
“I’m glad we are leading by example,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said.
The board established Fairfax County’s work group in October 2020. It includes representatives from Visit Fairfax, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Fairfax County History Commission, and the City of Fairfax Regional Library.
Going forward, the work group suggested that it could become a “more formal planning entity,” one with a larger membership that’s more diverse and more representative of the county as a whole.
Stroh anticipates the planning and the commemoration itself will be paid for through a variety of methods, including county funds, grants, state money, and private support.
In general, the board seemed pleased with the report, but it didn’t take any action beyond accepting the report. Instead, a board matter outlining possible next steps will be proposed when the board next meets on July 27, McKay said.
McKay emphasized that the commemoration should be inclusive and tell a “fuller American story.”
“I think many of us have heard of this notion of erasing history or redoing history,” McKay said. “In fact, [it is] quite the opposite. We are trying to bring to light the entire history and how we do better in the future.”
Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk made similar comments, saying his daughter recently remarked on many of America’s founders being slaveholders.
“That is a contradiction. That is a flaw,” he said, while reading off a portion of the report that positions commemoration as a chance to assess how the country is still striving to match its ideals with its actions.
“[This commemoration] is more than a chance, it’s an opportunity to actually do this,” Lusk said.
A motorcyclist died on Sunday (July 4) after crashing off of Interstate 66 near the Nutley Street exit, Virginia State Police reported yesterday (Wednesday).
According to police, Eddie B. Short, 55, of Manassas was traveling west on I-66 on a 1999 Harley-Davidson Sportster when the motorcycle went off the interstate and hit a crash attenuator. The crash occurred at 12:33 p.m. on the Fourth of July.
Short, who was wearing a helmet, was transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital, where he died from the resulting injuries that same day.
VSP Public Relations Director Corinne Geller confirmed to Tysons Reporter that the crash occurred near Exit 62 for Nutley Street. The cause of the crash has not been determined as the incident remains under investigation.
State police say Short was one of 10 people who died in traffic crashes on Virginia highways over this past Independence Day weekend, which was counted from 12:01 a.m. on July 2 to midnight on July 5.
Four of the reported fatal crashes involved motorcycles, and one involved an all-terrain vehicle.
Preliminary data shows that 399 people have been killed in traffic crashes in 2021 as of July 7, four more deaths than had been recorded at this point last year, according to a VSP news release.
Overall, state troopers responded to 669 traffic crashes and 1,550 incidents involving stranded or disabled motorists during the holiday weekend. They also arrested 61 drunk drivers and issued 4,025 citations for speeding, 1,434 for reckless driving, and 510 for not wearing a seatbelt.
“We are at the height of the summer travel season, which is why we need every Virginian committed to being a safe, responsible driver,” VSP Superintendent Col. Gary T. Settle said. “Please put as much attention into driving, buckling up and complying with speed limits as you do with planning your summer getaway. You and Virginia’s safety depend on it.”
Photo via Google Maps
The Fourth of July is coming up this weekend, and with Monday (July 5) as a designated federal holiday, many public facilities and services will be shaking up their schedules.
The Fairfax County Health Department announced today (Friday) that all of its COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be closed on Independence Day, but walk-in services will be available at the Fairfax County Government Center and the former Safeway at Mount Vernon Square in Alexandria on Saturday.
A vaccine site at Springfield Town Center will also be open for walk-ins on Monday.
Here are some other closures that county residents should keep in mind this holiday weekend:
Fairfax County Government
- County government offices will be closed on July 5.
Fairfax County Courts
- The Fairfax Circuit, General District, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District courts will be closed all day on July 5.
Town of Vienna
- Town offices will be closed all day.
- The Vienna Community Center will be closed.
- The holiday will not affect waste collection. Residents scheduled for pick-up on Mondays can place their waste by the curb as normal, but no brush, bulk, or yard waste will be collected.
City of Falls Church
- All city offices and services, including City Hall, the Mary Riley Styles Public Library, and the Falls Church Community Center, will be closed.
- Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed in observance of Independence Day.
County Libraries, Recreation Centers, Parks
- All Fairfax County library branches will be closed.
- All Fairfax County RECenters will operate at their regular hours.
- Colvin Run Mill, Sully Historic Site, Hidden Oaks, Hidden Pond, E.C. Lawrence, and Huntley Meadows nature centers will be closed.
- The farm at Frying Pan Park and the indoor arena will be open, but the visitor center will be closed.
- The McLean Community Center will be closed on Sunday and Monday.
- Fairfax Connector buses will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday. Check the Connector website for details on specific routes.
- WMATA Metrorail service will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Details on routes and closed stations can be found on the Metro website.
- WMATA Metrobus will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday.
County Trash and Recycling
This coming weekend is the Fourth of July, and unlike last summer when — well, you know — travel is on the table for many Tysonians and neighbors.
Are you planning to head out-of-town this weekend? How are you planning on traveling? List your mode-of-choice in the comments if it’s not a plane or car.
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday (June 29)
- Planet Art: The Crossroads of Nature, Culture and Design (Online) — 7 p.m. — Join Creative Cauldron sets and costumes designer Margie Jervis for this encore crafts presentation that explores Indonesian art forms, including textile design, puppetry, theater, dance, and architecture. Email [email protected] for the Zoom link.
Thursday (July 1)
- Fifty Years Together: A Celebration of Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Rd.) — Join Wolf Trap and the National Symphony Orchestra in celebrating 50 years since Wolf Trap opened its doors. The musical evening will recall Wolf Trap’s historic opening and pay homage to the park’s founder, Catherine Filene Shouse. Tickets start at $47 and advance registration is required.
- Summer Live Music Featuring Justin Trawick — 5:30-8 p.m. at The Boro (8350 Broad St.) — This week’s live music series at The Boro features local musician Justin Trawick. RSVP to receive more information.
- Films in the Park — 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Strawberry Park (2910 District Ave.) — The Mosaic District continues its Films in the Park series this Thursday with Footloose, the 1984 classic starring Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer. Grab your picnic blanket and join your neighbors at Strawberry Park for a movie night!
- Concerts in the Park: Flowerbomb — 7-9 p.m. at Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Ave.) — This week’s Concert in the Park in Falls Church features D.C. four-piece band Flowerbomb. They’ll be playing songs from their debut album “Pretty Dark,” which was released in December 2020. Email [email protected] with questions or concerns.
Friday (July 2)
- Sweeney Todd at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at the Filene Center (1551 Trap Rd.) — Wolf Trap Opera’s second in-person show of the season is Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which also has a Saturday performance. Tickets will be sold in socially distanced pods of 2 to 8 tickets. No single tickets are available. Listen to the pre-show lecture or read the insider guide for more information.
Saturday (July 3)
- 15th Amendment Concert & Festival — 6-8 p.m. at Vienna Town Green (144 Maple Ave.) — The Town of Vienna and the Vienna Presbyterian Church host a showcase of community musicians performing justice-themed songs. There will also be food, booths, voter registration and more for guests to enjoy!
Sunday (July 4)
- July 4th Drive-Thru Ice Cream Celebration — 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Celebrate Independence Day with the McLean Community Center! In-district residents are invited to enjoy music, free ice cream, and patriotic giveaways with their neighbors. Residents are asked to sign up for a morning, midday or afternoon timeslot before they arrive.
- Declaration Celebration Scavenger Hunt — 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. — The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department is hosting a city-wide scavenger hunt to celebrate Independence Day. Find 13 historical markers throughout the city and win a free “Declaration Celebration” t-shirt by turning in your Scavenger Hunt Form at Cherry Hill Park or the community center, or emailing [email protected]. There will also be live music from Sudden M Pac Band from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Cherry Hill Park. Due to construction at Meridian High School, there are no fireworks this year.
- Vienna July 4th Celebration — 7-9 p.m. at Yeonas Park (1319 Ross Dr. SW) — The Town of Vienna invites all residents to come out to celebrate July 4th! Music, food and drinks will be available, but guests are asked to leave their pets at home.
Photo via Sheri Hooley on Unsplash
Several Tysons-area fireworks and festivities for Independence Day have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
The McLean Community Center. Town of Vienna and City of Falls Church called off their fireworks display. Falls Church said that it canceled the fireworks due to construction on the new George Mason High School.
“The city previously said an alternative event would be planned,” Patch reported on Falls Church. “The Recreation and Parks Department is putting together a virtual scavenger hunt for the Fourth of July. Details will be announced at a later time.”
Fireworks are still set to take place in D.C., though.
People in Vienna looking for an alternative can order a “4th of July in a Box” package for $20. Meanwhile, Fairfax County has advice for using fireworks safely and determining which are illegal and legal.
Let us know in the poll below what you plan to do for the Fourth of July.
Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash
Though firework displays and community gatherings are canceled for this year’s Fourth of July in Vienna, the town is offering a solution so people can still partake in festivities.
People can purchase a “4th of July in a Box” package from the town for $20. The box includes s’mores supplies for four people, glow sticks, a picnic blanket, a craft activity for two kids and an assortment of patriotic accessories and toys, according to Vienna’s website.
People can pick up their packages from the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) starting June 29, the webpage said.
Though anyone, not just Vienna residents, may purchase the package, the town has imposed a two-box limit per household.
“Visit Webtrac and use activity #610701-A1 to reserve your box,” the webpage said.
July 4th in a Box is now available for purchase for residents and non-residents!
— Town of Vienna, VA (@TownofViennaVA) May 26, 2020
Sen. Tim Kaine Receives Positive Antibody Test — “Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said Thursday he and his wife, Anne, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies earlier this month after experiencing symptoms of the respiratory disease in March and April.” [Patch]
How’s the Local Real Estate Market Faring? — Patch compiled local numbers for homes that came on the market, ones that went under contract and closed sales. [Tysons Corner Patch, McLean Patch, Vienna Patch]
Expanded Contact Tracing — “The Fairfax County Health Department is pleased to partner with the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) to hire and train staff for COVID-19 contact tracing efforts… To meet the need for large-scale contact tracing efforts, IPHI will hire and train contact tracing staff, community health workers, and other staff as needed.” [Fairfax County]
No Fourth of July Festivities — “The Fairfax County Park Authority’s Summer Entertainment Series will be canceled through July due to public safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Fourth of July events have been canceled, too.” [Fairfax County]
Photo courtesy Jae
(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Independence Day is Thursday, and Fairfax County has some safety tips for people ahead of the festivities.
For fans of fireworks, Fairfax County is explicit on what is allowed:
Unless expressly approved by the County Fire Marshal in the form of a Fire Prevention Code Permit (FPCP), the exploding, igniting, and use of fireworks is strictly prohibited in Fairfax County and the towns of Clifton, Herndon, and Vienna. However, the supervised use of permissible fireworks on private property with the consent of the owner of such property is allowed, and a permit is not required
Permissible fireworks — consumer fireworks legally allowed for sale and use in the county — include sparklers, fountains, Pharaoh’s serpents, caps for pistols or pinwheels — whirligigs or spinning jennies. You’ll need a permit if you want fireworks or pyrotechnic displays.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has some tips for pet and human safety around fireworks.
- adults should supervisor minors around permissible fireworks
- when using permissible fireworks, place the device on a flat surface at least 50 feet away from any combustible materials and buildings
- never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have malfunctioned
- keep a bucket of water or hose handy in case of a fire
- light fireworks one at a time after reading the directions
- leave pets at home during a fireworks display
- never shoot, point or throw fireworks in the direction of a human or pet
Last Friday (June 28), the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Fire Marshal’s Office highlighted the harm and damage fireworks can cause with a video from a press conference that shows a fire starting after several explosions.
According to @NFPA, Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside/other fires. Caused average of 3 deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in property damage. https://t.co/lmgCKEKCD1
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) July 2, 2019
Tragedy can strike w/in seconds when fireworks are not properly and safely used. Thousands of people are injured each year in U.S. due to fireworks. Consider the following safety tips when using permissible fireworks: https://t.co/W3y9Y1wO4W #SafeFairfax pic.twitter.com/0zCJAOUcaw
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) July 2, 2019
(Updated at 1 p.m.) Independence Day is coming up on Thursday (July 4). Check this list in case you are planning to visit government facilities around Fairfax County later this week — they might be closed.
The I-66 Transfer Station (4618 West Ox Road) and the I-95 Landfill Complex (9850 Furnace Road) will be closed on Thursday. Residents with private collection will need to contact their haulers.
Town of Vienna offices will be closed on Thursday, and refuse collection will take place on Friday.
The Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) will have reduced hours on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The gym will not be open.
The Mary Riley Styles Public Library will be closed on Thursday and Friday.
The Community Center (223 Little Falls Street) will be closed on Thursday but open regular hours on Friday.
City Hall will be closed on Thursday and Friday.
The McLean Community Center will be closed on Thursday and Friday.
Metro trains and buses and the Fairfax Connector will be operating on a Saturday schedule on July 4. Large coolers and bicycles will not be allowed on the Metro trains after 2 p.m. Metro stations will be open from 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will be closed on Thursday and Friday.
Speaking of closed offices, Tysons Reporter will be on a break as well on Thursday and Friday.